The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 80

At the east end of Sandpark Carnival, Higgins and Ford slowly made their way through the concession stands toward the center of the park.

“You know what this reminds me of?” Ford asked.

Before Higgins could respond, Ford answered his own question.

“This late movie I saw last week,” he shuddered.

“If you start jabbering about horror movies, I swear I will shoot you in the face,” Higgins growled.

“Sorry,” Ford replied, shrugging his shoulders.

“Everybody else got teamed with a professional. What did I get? A nut job who loves horror movies,” Higgins complained.

“Hey, wait a minute!” Ford returned.

“I’ll have you know I have survived lots of psychos and killers just by following what I learned from horror flicks,” Ford defended as his eyes traveled over the park.

When there was no answer, Ford glanced over at Higgins and saw that he was standing frozen to the spot, his rifle raised.

“What’s wrong?” Ford asked nervously.

“Shh!” Higgins whispered.

Nodding toward the House of Mirrors, he aimed the barrel of his rifle at the dimly lit entrance. Just inside the doorway stood Captain Bonkers, his soulless eyes watching the two men.

After a moment, he turned and disappeared inside.

“Come on!” Higgins said.

All at once, they heard a loud metallic sound like two metal lids repeatedly clapped together. Then suddenly it stopped.

“Wait!” Ford warned as Higgins cautiously moved towards the House of Mirrors. “It’s a trap! He wants us to follow him.”

“Stay here if you’re scared,” taunted Higgins.

Ford wanted to stick with his partner, but he knew Bonkers was baiting them.

“Higgins, he’s trying to draw you in! Don’t go in there, man!” Ford warned.

Convinced he could handle anything, Higgins kept coming after Bonkers until he passed the ticket booth and disappeared into the canvas tent.

“Forget it! I’m out of here!” Ford said, heading in the direction of the park entrance.

After only a few steps, the repetitive metallic sound started again. His gut told him to keep going, but something about the sound drew him in. He had to know what it was.

Weaving his way through the empty concession stands, Ford moved toward the sound. Up ahead he saw that the noise was coming from a small food trailer. The faded red paint said that french fries, funnel cakes, and sausage dogs had been on the menu. The door stood open, and after he looked around, he stepped inside. Two nickel-plated fryer baskets were stacked on the counter beside a couple of deep fryers and rusted salt and pepper shakers resting on their sides. Just behind the fryers, Ford saw a cymbal-banging monkey toy bobbing its head and chattering as it clapped its cymbals together.

“Why are you still running?” he asked.

When he reached over the fryers for the toy, he stopped mid-air. Both fryers were full of boiling oil. Someone had turned them on.

Suddenly overpowered with fright, Ford fought to think rationally. In the small trailer, he could not raise his rifle in time, so he pulled out his pistol with his left hand and spun around, extending his arm in the process.
Standing behind him was Captain Bonkers. Stunned, Ford watched as Bonkers caught his left arm then seized the back of his head. For a moment, the world seemed to move in slow motion. A second later, he felt his face being driven into the boiling oil.

Ford dropped his pistol, desperately clawing at the hands that held him down. When Bonkers finally released him, Ford brought his hands up to his disfigured face and tried to scream.

Bonkers watched for a moment as his victim agonized then he pulled out a pistol and shot Ford once in the head, turning to leave as the body hit the floor.

* * *

When Higgins came to, the back of his head was throbbing. He remembered entering the House of Mirrors. Someone had struck him from behind then tased him as he was going down.

After his blurred vision cleared, he saw that he was sitting on one of the merry-go-round horses.

His head, feet and waist were bound, each to a different rope, and his hands were cuffed to the horse’s neck. While he struggled to get free, he discovered the ropes had been wound around different horses then brought back to the center of the merry-go-round.

All of a sudden, a bell sounded and the ride began slowly to turn as the loud shrill of calliope music played and the lights flashed. Higgins panicked when he realized that with each revolution, the ropes grew tighter. Fighting to free himself, he knew that in a matter of moments, he would be torn apart.

Just as the ride began to increase speed, the power went out slowing the merry-go-round to a stop. Breathing a sigh of relief, Higgins rested his head on the horse’s neck.

“Must have blown a fuse,” he thought.

But when he lifted his head, the music started again and the lights came back on as the ride turned.

Standing in front of the horse that held Higgins was Captain Bonkers.

When he looked into Bonkers’ eyes, he saw they were two different colors. Funny what you notice when you’re about to die.

“Let me go, you freak! I am a police officer! You can’t keep me tied up!” Higgins yelled.

Bonkers turned, stepped down to the ground and slowly walked away, leaving Higgins to his fate.

* * *

When Ray finally reached the Shadow Serpent roller coaster, he let his eyes wander up to the top of the massive beast. At the top of the first hill, he spotted Rebecca Conrad. She looked so small and frail. Ray found a maintenance ladder and began climbing up to her, leaving behind an anxious Pete whimpering and pawing at the rungs.

After an exhausting climb, Ray reached the top. The wind pushed him to the side as it swept across the metal rails. Holding tightly to the ladder, he waited until it passed then stepped off and walked over to Rebecca.

“Well, I’m here,” he said.

“This was the one ride that scared my daughter,” Rebecca said, a sorrowful faraway look in her eyes. “Before she died, the only thing I was afraid of was heights.”

“Don’t do this,” Ray pleaded. “I know you miss your child, but without your testimony, any case against King will fall apart. Everything we have is circumstantial, and your suicide won’t help.”

“Have you ever lost anyone?” Rebecca asked as though she had not heard him.

Ray hesitated then said, “My wife.”

“That’s not the same though,” Rebecca said. “Losing a child is like losing a part of yourself. It’s as though someone reached inside you and ripped out your soul. There’s no life left in me. All I want is to be with her. “

Just then he heard the wind coming toward them again. He tightened his grip on the maintenance platform and lowered his head against the force.

“David doesn’t understand,” Rebecca continued. “He’s become consumed by his need for vengeance. He’s got a hole in his heart like I do, but he thinks he can fill his by getting revenge.”

When she slowly turned her face toward Ray, he saw that her eyes were swollen and streaked with makeup as tears ran down her cheeks.

“I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I wanted to look my best for my baby, but I couldn’t even do that right,” she laughed bitterly.

She turned away from Ray and again looked off in the distance.

“There’s a trash can near the ladder you used to get up here. Inside it you’ll find a satchel containing everything I have on Bradford King.”

“I’m not leaving you,” Ray insisted.

“It’s time for you to go,” she said. “He’s here.”

At first, Ray didn’t see anyone, but when he turned, there was Captain Bonkers, his pistol raised as he silently waited.

Before Ray could respond, Captain Bonkers struck him with the pistol sending Ray unconscious to the track.

Turning her back to Bonkers, Rebecca said,

“Before you do this, I have one request. David doesn’t understand. He won’t let go. You must free him or he’ll become more and more consumed by his anger.”

Rebecca looked down at the ground and saw David staring up at her in horror. He was yelling her name over and over.

She smiled and whispered,

“I love you, David.”

“NO!” David yelled.

It was the last sound she heard.

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